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The Dirty Little Secret Behind Surface Pro

by: Mark Reschke | Jan 24, 2013
Categories: iPad, News, Products, Review

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Microsoft's Surface Pro with Windows 8 runs on an Intel Core i5 processor starting at $899, as is available for purchase in the U.S. on February 9. At first glance the price may seem a bit steep, but don't worry, that's only because it is. Microsoft is keen to point out that for $899 it ships with 64GB of storage, but that's only half the story. Perhaps it's better said that's only half the storage... 

When the Surface RT launched for $499 with 32GB of storage, pundits asked whether a 16GB version would be forthcoming? Microsoft was keen to avoid any technical answers, suggesting 32GB of storage was a good starting point for this type of tablet -- double that of the iPad for the same price. The only problem is the Devil's in the details, or in this case the technical specifications.

The Surface RT doesn't have 32GB of user addressable storage. Surface RT doesn't even have 30GB or 25GB of storage available for the user. In fact, Microsoft's bloatware OS and related items consume 16GB of storage on the Surface RT, half the storage marketed. Microsoft has a support page clearly stating this fact. Those buying a Surface RT with the belief they are getting a real storage bargain over a similarly priced 16GB iPad had better do their homework, as the available storage is roughly the same between the two products.

With the Surface Pro launch coming months after the Surface RT release, surely Microsoft was able to reduce the file space required for their built-in software? Wrong. Surface Pro manages to chew up even more space. Microsoft states approximately 19GB of storage is used up versus 16GB for Surface RT. Thus, the available storage for a marketed 64GB Surface Pro is around 45GB.

Since Microsoft is promoting these products as both a tablet and a PC (laptop/ultrabook), who in their right mind would want to purchase a Surface Pro as a laptop for $899 that contains only 45GB of storage? 

Like Surface RT, the Pro version will cost users storage, but it will also cost additional dollars to use Surface Pro as a traditional Windows PC. Surface Pro ships without a keyboard, so Microsoft's Touch Cover must also be purchased for an outrageous $129.99. Windows users who are accustomed to rock bottom pricing must be wondering why on earth they would pay $1,028.99 for a product that is the bulkiest tablet on the market, not a pure ultrabook, sports a small screen, has only 45GB of storage and questionable battery life (at this time, battery life for the Surface Pro is mysteriously missing from Microsoft's Specs page).

Those who are even remotely considering a Surface Pro would be wise to look into a refined and proven MacBook Air instead.

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2 Comments

  1. Rob ~ January 24, 2013 10:04

    This product is a "camel" -- something with strange humps and features that looks designed by committee. Is this clunker supposed to be Microsoft's answer to the iPad? What a joke. MS, all these years later, just doesn't get it. My iPad takes me from 7 a.m. to 11 at night with its long life battery. It does 95% of what I need ... The other 5% is done on my MacBook Air. The Surface looks like a tablet in name only; in reality its a nasty old Intel dinasour sporting multiple fans and a presumably miserable battery life. Consumers will be better off with a laptop; leave the tablet market to the company that owns it, Apple. #
  2. dr3d ~ January 25, 2013 07:20

    I just have to comment on how silly and uninformed ROb's comments are. Surface PRO runs FULL windows in a tablet. That's something an ipad a MBA *cannot* do... If you can do 95% of your work on an ipad, you are a consumer, not a creator #

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